Northampton Police Department honored with a community policing award

Last modified: Saturday, May 03, 2014

NORTHAMPTON — A police chiefs association representing six New England states is recognizing the Northampton Police Department for its implementation of a bevy of community policing programs that go far beyond “cops and robber stuff” to proactively deal with issues.

The New England Association of Police Chiefs selected the department for one of three community policing awards it handed out in 2013 in three categories divided by the size of a community. Northampton received first prize for a mid-size community of between 15,000 and 50,000 people, while Rindge, N.H. won for communities under 15,000 and Providence, R.I., was honored in a 50,000-plus cateogry.

“This is a recognition that goes beyond the things you read about in the newspaper, the typical cops and robber stuff,” Northampton Police Chief Russell P. Sienkiewicz told the City Council this week. “This is all the things that my people, your people do behind the scenes on a daily basis. It often goes unrecognized.”

Capt. Jody Kasper, who completed the 40-page application for the department, pushed to enter the contest as a way to recognize the breadth and quality of the department’s policing efforts in the area of domestic violence, mental health diversion, traffic and pedestrian safety, school and juvenile partnershp and other general outreach programs designed to strenghten community partnerships.

Kasper said she’s proud of the department for receiving the award.

“The reason that I was motivated to put us in for this award is because I really have a passion about our police department and the way that we interact with the community and the way that people interact with us,” Kasper said.

Kasper said the two main areas that likely set Northampton apart are its longtime work with domestic violence programs and mental health diversion.

The department publicly accepted the honor at a City Council meeting this week from Doug S. Johnston, vice president of the NEACOP and police chief of the Springfield, Vt. Police Department. Johnston said the mid-size category was very competitive, noting that the selection committee was impressed by the difference Northampton’s police personnel are making in the community.

“It was a very difficult decision on the committee’s part,” Johnston said.

Sienkiewicz said the award recognizes not only the department but the more than 30 public and private organizations that meet regularly with police to deal with issues in a proactive way. He thanked these civilian and sworn people for their efforts.

“We train them, we educate them and our mission and our goal is to take action in a way that helps citizens that doesn’t often just result in a legal action as a police officer,” the chief said.


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